China's grassroots labor market (Part II): how vocational education fuels the transformation in China's secondary industry
Labor market in the secondary industry is facing skill shortages…Eye on China’s vocational education development
In our recent article on China’s grassroots labor market, we examine the ups and downs of China’s gig workers amid the evolving platform economy.
As the tertiary industry, led by internet companies, loses growth momentum and causes massive worker redundancy, we witness a surge in employment opportunities in the secondary industry.
Recent data from BigOne Lab indicates the resilience of employment in the secondary industry, surpassing the performance of the tertiary industry. Within the secondary industry, manufacturing has shown a strong resurgence, while construction experienced a slower recovery.
In this article, we explore the profound impact of migrant workers on China's three decades of economic development and the challenges faced by the first generation of migrant workers as they enter their middle age, confronting skill shortages and age discrimination. We explore vocational education as a viable pathway for today's youth, equipping them with the tools for job selection and skill development. Through the captivating example of Jingdezhen, a prefecture city in China, we show you a successful integration between education and industry, particularly within the vibrant ceramic sector.
Migrant workers: the driving force of China’s 30 years of urbanization and the backbone of today’s economy
Since the 1990s, China's establishment of a socialist market economy has led to a significant influx of migrant workers from rural areas seeking opportunities in more developed urban regions, particularly in the Eastern and Southern parts of the country, such as Shanghai and Guangzhou. These individuals migrated to cities in search of livelihoods and wealth accumulation. The manufacturing, construction, and social service sectors including catering, retail, and transportation, attracted the majority of migrant workers, playing a pivotal role in driving China's economic development and urbanization over the past three decades.
According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, an astounding 60% of urban workers in 2021 were migrant workers, highlighting the significant presence of this workforce segment. Concentrated mainly in the secondary industry, with 27% working in manufacturing and 19% in construction, migrant workers have become a crucial force in these sectors.
As of 2022, China's migrant worker population stands at 296 million, representing a staggering 40% of the country's total employment. These individuals continue to serve as the growth engine of China's labor force, even in the post-pandemic era, showcasing their enduring significance.
Desperate mid-age workers: struggling to find stability
Migrant workers, particularly those in their mid-age, are facing significant challenges in the labor market. With limited educational opportunities (69% having attended middle school or below), these individuals often find themselves in manual labor jobs, which become less efficient as they grow older.
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